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Hancock County Commission adjusts funding for park board

NEW CUMBERLAND — Following several weeks of tabled discussions, the Hancock County Commission has agreed to lower its annual funding allotment to Hancock County Parks and Recreation, although it won’t be as steep of a cut as originally proposed.

During Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Jeff Davis moved to take the item off of the table, and then to adjust the funding to $26,000 per year. The commission previously had been providing the park board with $48,000 each year.

Davis explained the move comes after the park board’s decision to no longer maintain the grass at its Gas Valley Road facilities.

“The board has decided not to take care of the grounds themselves,” Davis said, noting the plan would involve the commission taking over the costs through the hiring of a part-time staff position.

He said the hire is estimated to cost $22,000.

Commissioner Eron Chek explained the adjusted funding should cover the costs of an administrative position and utilities.

The commission originally had discussed reducing its allotment to $14,400 per year.

The commission opted to make a matter of record two pieces of correspondence related to the county’s volunteer firefighters.

The first letter, from Tim Steele, chief of the Newell Volunteer Fire Department, requested financial support from the commission to assist with the purchase of a aerial/ladder truck. According to Steele, the department had made a similar request in August 2021, with no decision on funding made.

Steele, in his position as president of the United Hancock County Firefighters Association, also requested the commission consider increasing its funding for the county’s fire departments from $44,000 per year to $60,000 per year, using a four-year plan of incremental increases.

“The request for increased funding comes as departments are experiencing price increases in all aspects of running their respective departments,” according to the letter from Steele to the commission.

A request from the Brooke County Committee on Aging, for $25,000, was approved by the commission, with Chek noting approximately 49% of the organization’s nutrition program participants live in Hancock County.

In other business, the Hancock County Commission:

Approved a proclamation in support of National Police Week

Agreed to send a previously approved resolution in support of keeping the Workforce WV office in Weirton open to state officials

Discussed the county spring cleanup, which is being held today at the Wells Building in Newell

Agreed to a contract with Horizon to provide internet and phone services to county facilities, at an anticipated savings of between $20,000 and $30,000

Agreed to apply for a Justice Assistance Grant in support of the county’s Prevention Resource Officer program for the 2022-23 fiscal year

Approved several personnel items, including a new tax deputy for the sheriff’s department, a deputy clerk for the County Clerk’s Office, a part-time animal care technician at the county animal shelter, and a summer intern for the WVU Extension Office.

chowell@weirtondailytimes.com

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